A KINGDOM WITHOUT A KING?
“A rich and important man” came to Jesus one day and asked what it would take for him to inherit the kingdom. “I keep all the commandments,” he said. Jesus saw right through this proudful rich man and went to the heart of the matter – the issue of ultimate loyalty! (Luke 16:13) “One thing you lack,” Jesus said. “Sell all you have and give it to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then, come follow me.” (Luke 18:18-30) That unexpected response from Jesus put him back on his heels. Jesus was asking him to give up everything to follow him. That threshold was just too high. As a result, the Bible says, “He went away sorrowfully because he was very rich.” We never hear from him again. Here was a fellow that wanted a kingdom without the king. (Luke 1:30-33) He wanted all the perks and benefits of belonging to Jesus but couldn’t bring himself to pay the price. In another New Testament story, Jesus was surrounded by a large group of followers and wannabees! (John 6:60-71) He had just laid out some terms of being a follower of His. To the majority, the Bible says, “this was a hard saying.” And “from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (v:66) In their view it was too much to ask so they just drifted off into the sunset. Jesus then turned to his chosen disciples, who were probably a little stunned at all they had just witnessed, and he asked this poignant question, “Will you go away too?” I love Peter’s response, “Lord, where would we go? Who else has the words of eternal life? We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (v:68-69) Again, most of the people wanted the “kingdom” and all the perks that go with it, but they did not want the King. So many followed Jesus only for the benefits - the bread and fish; the miraculous healings, etc. But, when push came to shove, they too just drifted off! They wanted the benefits of the kingdom, but they didn’t want the King. When we make it our first order of business to honor and follow the “King” – God has promised that all the benefits of the Kingdom will flow as a natural result. Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 8:31-33 NIV) “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10) Be blessed my friend. Glen (Pitts) The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love Luke 12:28-31; John 10:14; Psalm 27; I Timothy 6:17; Matthew 6:24